On the Rise: Andrew Ko
Chief Technical Officer and Co-Founder | Revvo Technologies Inc.| Age: 33
What was your first job in the industry?
My first job in the tire industry is actually as a co-founder of Revvo. I spent a significant portion of my first year at a local tire shop learning the ins-and-outs of tire installation, repair and management.
What attracted you to the industry?
Many years ago, a close friend of mine was in a serious car accident. He was rear-ended on the highway by a pickup truck that failed to stop in time. We put so much trust into the safety of our vehicles but rarely think about the safety of the tires that the vehicle drives upon. Through Revvo, we are changing how people think about tires through a smart tire revolution.
What is the biggest challenge you have faced in your career?
My biggest challenge was taking the lessons I learned as an individual contributor with an established team and creating a business from scratch with my co-founder. It's been immensely rewarding but the sheer amount of obstacles to overcome (from acquiring tire knowledge, hiring the right folks, creating solutions that match the industry's needs, etc) has truly been a unique learning experience.
Who has had the biggest influence on your career?
My biggest influence has always been my mother. She instilled a rigorous work ethic and was always our biggest supporter when celebrating wins and our greatest advocate during the bad times. I'm sad to say that she passed away recently, but her spirit lives on through my work.
What is your biggest accomplishment in the industry?
Revvo Technologies has exceeded over 10 million miles of tire data captured by our real-time data platform. We're super proud of this accomplishment since that dataset is the crux to understanding so many facets of tires from how often each tire needs to be maintained for optimal safe performance to how they wear down from different conditions. It also highlights the incredible demand by the industry for real-time monitoring on tires and we're proud to bring that solution to market.
Tell us about your current job and responsibilities. How do you spend your work day?
As the chief technical officer of a small company, I work very closely with all of the engineers on my team. Each morning, we start with a team sync, then I spend the next few hours unblocking team members by answering questions, reviewing designs, and finding new ways to improve our product. We usually break for lunch and then the afternoons are spent building features, collaborating with the rest of my team, or finding and evaluating candidates to hire.
What’s one thing you wish someone would have told you before you took your current job?
Honestly, I think I had just the right amount of curiosity coming into the tire space and part of the fun of taking on the role was learning more about the problems that are so ubiquitous, and coming up with ways to solve them. Had somebody told me how it would have played out; I think the journey would have been less exciting.
Tell us about your family.
My parents are first-generation immigrants who came to the U.S. in the ‘70s. My mother was a math professor at a community college and my father was in IT. I'm fortunate and proud to have the support of my family no matter what challenges I face.
What did you learn about yourself in the course of the COVID-19 pandemic?
I think that COVID has taught me to value time spent with my family and friends.
Name a talent you wish you had.
Easily remembering names and faces!
How do you recover from a bad or stressful day?
I go for a walk, exercise or read a book.
What’s the best book you’ve read lately?
I'll read any book that makes you introspect and improve. The last I read that truly did so was Principles by Ray Dalio.
If you won an Olympic gold medal, how would you have earned it? (You can make up a sport.)
I excel at power napping!
What’s the biggest issue facing the industry today?
Lack of visibility and understanding by users! The average car owner knows very little about proper tire maintenance!!
What advice would you give to tire dealers who are desperate to find good employees?
First attract talent, then be selective. To attract talent, find ways to stand out. To filter, I would say that the best employees have both experience and potential; a good recruiting process requires coming up with fair and effective strategies for evaluating both.
What do you expect to be doing 20 years from now?
I would hope that in 20 years, I'm just as active as I am today; working on something that I'm passionate about.